Brogue rock - celebrate Coleman's 75th

Russ Tarby, Staff Writer 03/06/08More articles

The Saw Doctors will celebrate Coleman’s 75th year with March 12 concert:

Peter Coleman’s ready to rock.
The last time the Syracuse tavern-keeper brought a world-famous band to Syracuse it was the Irish Rovers, performing in honor of the 60th anniversary of Coleman’s Authentic Irish Pub in 1993.

This year, it’ll be Ireland’s premier rock band, the Saw Doctors, who will toast Coleman’s, a Tipperary Hill landmark since 1933.

‘Seems like yesterday’
“Time passes quickly. It seems like just yesterday that the Rovers were here,” Coleman said. “But the Saw Doctors! This is big-time entertainment. What a great way to kick off our 75th year.”

The Saw Doctors will perform at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday March 12, at the Mulroy Civic Center, 411 Montgomery St., downtown. Tickets cost $20 and $30; 435-8000. There’s also a special dinner-concert package available at Coleman’s for $100; 476-1933.

A portion of the concert proceeds will be donated to the St. Patrick Hunger Project. Concertgoers are encouraged to bring dry or canned food products on March 12.

‘I Useta Lover’
Formed in Galway in 1987 by songwriters Davy Carton and Leo Moran, the Saw Doctors hit the jackpot in 1990 with a song called “I Useta Lover” which became Ireland’s best-selling single ever. Their first album followed and its title demonstrated the band’s self-deprecating sense of humor: “If This is Rock’n’Roll I Want My Old Job Back.”
Now, with 11 discs to their credit, the Saw Doctors received the 2008 Meteor Irish Music Lifetime Achievement Awards.

“We were quite pleased to get an honor after all these years,” Carton said in a recent telephone interview. “It was a big deal, a big TV show and they put us up in a fancy hotel in Dublin, but as Leo says, ‘It’s a milestone on our career not a tombstone.’”

The good Doctors hope to rock on for another 20 years at least.

The band’s sound relies on catchy choruses, upbeat arrangements and intelligent lyrics.

“I come from that punk and power pop scene, you know, bands like The Jam and The Clash and all that, yo,” Carton said. “So when we put our songs together we always want to get to the chorus quick, and we generally like songs to go no longer than three minutes.”

Musically, the Doctors keep it simple, but at every concert reed player Anthony Thistlewait (of The Waterboys) stretches out a bit, playing a hot tenor lead on “Clare Island” and blowing a harmonica on “Maroon and White.”

‘People’s poetry’
Lyrically, the Saw Doctors deal with topics many entertainers avoid like the plague, issues such as the domination of the Catholic Church, the plight of unwed mothers, the urge to join the army and reflections on Gaelic football.

“We kinda wanted to write about our own area,” Carton said. “In America you have Tom Waits writing about Los Angeles and Bruce Springsteen in New Jersey. We figured we could write about County Tuam, yo.”

Moran collects phrases wherever he goes, Carton said. “Then two or three years later we’ll find those phrases in his songs. The words of ordinary people are very poetic. They’ve been honed over the ages.”

Though they have a sense of history, the Saw Doctors are very much au courant. The band’s newest disc, “That Takes the Biscuit,” contains a song called “I’m Never Gonna Go on Bebo Again,” about a popular Irish networking Web site.

“We keep our fingers in what’s happening,” Carton said. “Even my kids use the Bebo site, and of course we all hear those scare stories about the dangers innocent kids might find on the Internet, so we imagined a celebrity stalker in the song and it immediately hit its audience.”

The Saw Doctors may be twice as old as their audience members, but rock’n’roll transcends age.

“Our audiences are mainly in the 19 to 25 age group, and they like our energy,” Carton said. “We like to send people home sweatin’ and it generally works.”

Rating: 2.6/5 (15 votes cast)

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